The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 6, 2012

Walkers at UPJ ‘Light the Night’

— About 800 walkers from 86 teams hit the pavement Saturday for the Light the Night Walk in Richland Township.

The 13th annual walk raised money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia Chapter.

This year’s goal is $125,000, campaign coordinator Angelina Shilcosky said.

Shilcosky has been cancer-free for five years.

She knows the importance of fundraising.

“The chemo pill that I’m on was developed through funding from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” she said.

A pre-walk celebration was held at Blackington Hall on the Pitt-Johnstown campus.

The event included refreshment, raffles and live music from the Southside Strays.

The program was hosted by former WJAC sports reporter Tim Rigby, also a cancer survivor.

Whether teams had four members or 40 members, all shared a common goal.

“Walking for cancer,” said Olivia Podrasky, 7, one of four members of the Rut Nut Girls.

She was joined by her sister, Bella, 4, their mother, Beth, and friend Holly Rutledge.

A friend of Holly’s suffers from a form of leukemia, Beth Podrasky said.

“She’s currently in Houston, Texas, getting treatment,” she said.

Forty-five members of Team Cook Yoder joined the walk for Dawn Yoder, a former Johns­town resident and Hodgkin’s disease survivor.

“She’s cancer free now, but had some complications with her chemotherapy treatment that caused some damage to her lungs,” said her husband, Dustin Yoder of Duncansville.

“It’s hard to empathize,” he said. “The best I can do is sympathize with her and try to be there for her. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society gave us good concrete support.”

Students from the National Honor Society at Blacklick Valley High School formed a team called “Hike 4 Mike.”

The team was formed to support high school principal Michael McDermott, who suffers from leukemia, said adviser Mary Little.

Eighteen juniors and seniors joined the event.

“We’ve never had any problem with kids coming forward and volunteering,” Little said.

The students raised $1,500, she said.

“They really put in a lot of effort,” Little said.

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